Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PJA in the news: Anti-semitism at Harvard?

Read the Harvard Crimson's story about a swastika graffitied on a building near Kirkland House here.

PJA's chair Emily Unger makes a strong statement to the Crimson, condemning the swastika as anti-Semitic! (How about that!)

Quote below:

Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg, executive director of Harvard Hillel, condemned the act of vandalism, calling it inconsistent with “the spirit of respect that generally prevails at Harvard.” 
Steinberg, who said that he did not know of the incident until The Crimson reached out to him for comment, said that he was not sure what could have compelled a person to graffiti a building with a symbol so often associated with racial bigotry. 
“One can only feel pity for someone who is compelled to express hatred in such a way,” Steinberg said. 
He added that he plans to bring the incident to the attention of the College chaplains, who he expects will collectively issue a response to the incident. 
Like Steinberg, Emily S. Unger ’13, incoming chair of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, said that she was not aware of the incident until informed by The Crimson. 
“This is the first instance of anti-Semitism that I think I’ve seen while at Harvard,” Unger said. “I just hope that the Harvard community will come together in response to this and make it clear to the world that this is not acceptable in our eyes. It is not something that we will tolerate.” 
Unger said that she thought the College should release a statement condemning the act of vandalism and the implicit meaning behind such a symbol. 
“There’s nothing more strongly anti-Semitic than a swastika,” Unger said.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Statement about Brandeis Hillel and JVP

The Progressive Jewish Alliance has released the following statement about the Brandeis Hillel's rejection of JVP as a member group:

On March 8th, 2011, the Brandeis University Hillel officially voted not to allow the campus chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) to become a member group. They based their decision on a National Hillel policy that bars groups advocating boycott, divestment, or sanctions of Israel from campus Hillels. Jewish Voice for Peace calls for divestment from companies that profit from Israeli settlements and does not endorse the Global BDS movement. As a Harvard Hillel organization that does not take a position on boycott, divestment, and sanctions, we nonetheless believe in informed and free discourse as the most effective means of conflict resolution. We recognize that Hillel serves as the center for Jewish life and community at many universities, as it does at Harvard, and demand that no such organization use political affiliation as a metric for evaluating a person's or group's "Judaism." Thus, we ask for National Hillel to change its policy and allow student groups advocating boycott, divestment, or sanctioning of the Israeli settlements to become members of campus Hillels to foster open discussion and free speech within the Jewish community.

Signed, The Harvard Progressive Jewish Alliance

What is Occupation?: Speaker Event at Hillel

Last week, PJA hosted Oded Na'aman and Simcha Levental from Breaking the Silence and Jenn Blain and Ted Goodnight from Iraqi Veterans Against the War in a speaker panel about the outcomes of occupation.

The event was both interesting and informational, as the four veterans found common themes among occupations by different militaries in different countries.